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Canadian Residential Inspection Services Lethbridge - Home Inspections
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Spring Deck Check


Spring is the time of the year when we are getting ready to start using our decks again. Prior to this you should be performing a quick check to make sure that your deck areas are still serviceable and safe for your family.

Check that they are securely attached to the house and are level. Check that the support posts under the decks are plumb. Over the winter months the wood and supporting beams may have deteriorated. Check for rotten boards and replace as required. It is not uncommon to need to re-level your decks in the spring.

In order to prolong the life of the wood, wash the deck to remove any moss or dirt which holds moisture and can accelerate decay. Wash any surface mold or mildew with TSP which inhibits its growth, and provides a clean surface to apply water repellants or semi-transparent deck stains.

Remember that any cracks in the surface paint finish will not only allow water to penetrate but will also trap it. This will cause paint to peel and provide a moisture source for any decay to continue.

For more seasonal tips for the maintenance of your home, go to the “Home Maintenance” section of our website at: www.CanadianResidential.com
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Bathroom Caulking - Prevent Water Damage

Preventing water damage inside our bathrooms is as important as directing water away from the foundation. As part of your routine homeowner’s maintenance, you should inspect the caulking in tubs, showers and vanities for cracking.

If cracks are left unrepaired with the high humidity in your bathroom, it can become an open invitation for mould and mildew to grow, often out of sight. To prevent this, immediately remove any damaged caulking (showing signs of cracking or gaps) and replace it with new caulking.

Remember proper maintenance of the caulking is much less expensive than the costly repairs that may be necessary if you sustain water damage.

For more seasonal tips for the maintenance of your home, go to the “Home Maintenance” section of our website at: www.CanadianResidential.com
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Avoiding Ice Dams

Our Canadian Winters have their frosty reputation for good reason. These extreme temperatures can affect the condition of your home and how it functions.

Your roof is one of the most important lines of defense between you and the natural elements. It prevents snow, rain or the cold from penetrating the exterior of your home.

This is an ideal time to examine your attic for frost accumulation. Look for excessive frost or staining of the wood on the underside of the roof. Excess frost is a sign of under ventilation in the attic or excess humidity escaping from the home. Check if bathroom fan vents and chimneys are hooked up properly so as not to leak moisture and gases into the attic.

Ice dams on the exterior surface of the roof can be a problem, particularly for low-sloped roofs with an overhang. This is the result of snow accumulation on the roof and is more common on poorly insulated homes. After a snowfall, heat escapes from the attic and melts the snow on the roof. The water runs down and encounters the snow on the overhang, which has not melted because there is no attic below it. The water, which meets this snow, will freeze forming a dam at the lower edge of the roof. This moisture can then back up beneath the shingles and result in damage below.

A well-insulated and ventilated attic will help reduce this problem. Consult a roofing/insulation professional.

For more seasonal tips for the maintenance of your home, go to the “Home Maintenance” section of our website at: www.CanadianResidential.com

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Keep your home and family safe over the holidays

1. Always lock your doors and windows, even if you plan to be out for a short amount of time.
2. Leave lights turned on both inside and outside your residence after dark. Criminals do not like bright places. The use of automatic lights will give the appearance that someone is home.
3. If you plan on being away from home for several days, plan to have someone pick up your mail and newspapers. An overstuffed mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home and burglars are tempted to check those envelopes for holiday gifts.
4. Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
5. Do not place the boxes of large ticket items where they are visible in the trash; break them down so it’s not so obvious what treasures a would-be burglar could find in your home.
6. When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doorways and passageways are clear inside your home.
7. Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.
8. If you use lights on your Christmas tree ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring may cause a fire.
9. If you are purchasing toys for small children, be sure that they are safe; you would be surprised what a small child can swallow or what can injure them.
10. Keep food out of the danger zone. Bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperature. After food is cooked, keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Refrigerate or freeze any perishable food within 2 hours.
11. Keep candles away from flammable items and do not leave lit candles unattended.
For more seasonal tips for the maintenance of your home, go to the “Home Maintenance” section of our website at: www.CanadianResidential.com
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WINTER READY TIPS

Some areas of the country have gotten an early start on the winter season. For the rest of us, time is getting short and we should be prepping for what we know is eventually coming!
Remove exterior garden hoses and store them inside to prolong their life and prevent cracking. Shut off all exterior faucets and place a cold weather faucet cover over top. It is important to drain water from outdoor pipes, valves and sprinkler heads. This will help protect against pipes bursting and causing damage.
Check around all windows and exterior doors for drafts. Replace or repair any damaged caulking or weatherstripping.
If you have a snow blower, now is a good time to check and make sure it will run properly when you need it. You may want to change the oil and replace the spark plug.
Steps and sidewalks can be hazardous to your wintertime health. If you use salt or de-icers pick them up early so that you have them on hand when you need them. Remember that some of these products are not recommended for properties with wells or concrete surfaces. For locations where chemical de-icers are not appropriate, sand or non-clumping cat litter can provide some traction but will not melt ice and snow.
When you know a snowfall is coming lift your wiper blades after you park your car at the end of the day. This will prevent them from freezing to your windshield and will give the rubber on the blades a longer life.
For more seasonal tips for the maintenance of your home, go to the “Home Maintenance” section of our website at: www.CanadianResidential.com
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FALL HEATING CHECK

This is the time of the year when people start thinking about ways to heat their homes more efficiently.

If your heating equipment is over 20 years old, consider upgrading it. New equipment is much more efficient than the older versions.

Change the furnace filter often and have heating equipment serviced and cleaned on a regular basis.

Install a programmable thermostat. This allows you to setback the temperature when you are asleep or away, automatically.

Wood Stove

Homeowners who have wood burning appliances are organizing wood for the winter months. You should only burn seasoned wood in your wood burning appliances.

The number one thing to remember is that your chimney / flue requires regular cleaning in order to be safe! Chimneys should be visually inspected to ensure there are no obstructions, such as nests or debris, and cleaned before operating a wood burning appliance for the first time in a season.

Creosote is an unavoidable product of wood burning stoves. Creosote is a tarry build-up in the chimney / flue which can cause a chimney fire. To avoid excess creosote, only burn dry, seasoned wood. If you are burning greener wood, you should leave the draft in your fireplace open to allow the fire to burn hotter and clean your chimney / flue more often.

To cut down on creosote build-up, avoid smoldering fires. Keep your fire hot enough to prevent creosote accumulation. Check your chimney. If you see heavy smoke, creosote is probably forming. If your stove has been working well and then begins to smoke around the doors or ports, or if you see a black / dark brown substance running down metal pipes, you should check for creosote.

Wood should not be stored inside your home. Even seasoned wood carries a 20% moisture content which will affect the health of your home and your family.

If you must store wood inside your home, place a dehumidifier next to the wood and/or an air circulating system such as a fan. This will help to dry the wood and help minimize the molds and mildews which may occur as a result of the high moisture content.

Pellet Stove

You should clean your pellet stove yourself or have it cleaned professionally prior to its first use this season. Most manufacturers have detailed instructions on how to do yearly pellet stove cleanings either in their manual or on the web – follow these instructions carefully. The pipes need to be brushed and vacuumed well. Vacuum the heat exchange tubes as well as behind the baffles. The chimney cap also gets a buildup of wet ash and should be cleaned.

For more home maintenance tips visit the Canadian Residential website at: http://goo.gl/7oKt3i

SAFETY NOTICE - Homeowners often want to perform maintenance themselves to save money. It is important to keep in mind that there are many areas of home maintenance that are best left to professionals. For example, electrical work, entering an attic, or climbing on roofs and ladders to name a few of the hazardous activities. It is better to take the safe choice if there is any question as to the ability of the homeowner to perform any maintenance task.
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GARAGE DOOR MAINTENANCE

A good rule of thumb is to inspect and maintain your garage doors once a year. Look for signs of wear or broken parts. If you notice broken parts, consider hiring a qualified service technician since many of the components are under high tension and can cause severe injury if mishandled.

Check that the optical sensors are operating correctly and reverse the door when an object is blocking the path of travel.

There are also many moving parts that will require occasional lubrication. Some experts advise using an aerosol lubricant and a small wand to effectively clean and lubricate those moving parts. Be cautious not to use an excessive amount of lubricant – you do not want a heavy layer that will become thick with dirt.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s directions regarding adjustments and lubrication.

If there is a man door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely.

For more home maintenance tips visit the Canadian Residential website at: http://goo.gl/7oKt3i

SAFETY NOTICE - Homeowners often want to perform maintenance themselves to save money. It is important to keep in mind that there are many areas of home maintenance that are best left to professionals. For example, electrical work, entering an attic, or climbing on roofs and ladders to name a few of the hazardous activities. It is better to take the safe choice if there is any question as to the ability of the homeowner to perform any maintenance task.


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HEALTHY BASEMENTS

During the summer months’ humidity is higher indoors as well as outdoors. High humidity levels indoors can lead to mould growth and/or structural damage in your basement.

Monitor basement humidity by using a dehumidifier to maintain relative humidity between 40 - 50 per cent in the summer months. Humidity may need to be kept below 40 per cent in the winter to avoid condensation on windows.

Prevent sewer gases from entering the home - if you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, for example, a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap. Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water and refill with water if necessary.

For more home maintenance tips visit the Canadian Residential website at: http://goo.gl/7oKt3i
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BATTLING ANTS

Low cost and environmentally friendly solution!

Summer has arrived and so have the ants! Ants can cause extensive damage to a home causing thousands of dollars in repairs. Now is the time to walk around the exterior and interior of your home to check for ants and/or ant filings. Ant filings look like very fine sawdust in small piles and are usually the result of ant damage to the wood in your home. If you notice ant filings, you should consult a professional.

These days we are more cautious about using pesticides / poisonous chemicals to get rid of unwanted pests. Two options to avoid chemicals are to use powdered cinnamon or corn meal to get rid of ants. These items can be purchased in bulk. Sprinkle generous amounts in the areas of concern and hopefully you’ll enjoy an ant-free summer!

For more information on carpenter ants and the damage they can do, visit the Government of Canada website which includes tips on ant-control.

For more home maintenance tips visit the Canadian Residential website at: http://goo.gl/7oKt3i

SAFETY NOTICE - Homeowners often want to perform maintenance themselves to save money. It is important to keep in mind that there are many areas of home maintenance that are best left to professionals. For example, electrical work, entering an attic, or climbing on roofs and ladders to name a few of the hazardous activities. It is better to take the safe choice if there is any question as to the ability of the homeowner to perform any maintenance task.
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Repair Cracked Concrete / Asphalt

Now that the weather is warmer, it’s a good time to be outside doing a little maintenance on your property.

Inspect your concrete or asphalt driveway, walks and steps for any cracks or deterioration. Open, unrepaired cracks are not only unsightly, they allow water entry which will result in more rapid deterioration of these surfaces. Repair all cracked concrete or seal your asphalt, if required.

Ensuring any repairs are performed will not only improve the look of your driveway, it will also help provide a level, safe walking surface for your family and guests.

For more home maintenance tips visit the Canadian Residential website at: http://goo.gl/7oKt3i

SAFETY NOTICE - Homeowners often want to perform maintenance themselves to save money. It is important to keep in mind that there are many areas of home maintenance that are best left to professionals. For example, electrical work, entering an attic, or climbing on roofs and ladders to name a few of the hazardous activities. It is better to take the safe choice if there is any question as to the ability of the homeowner to perform any maintenance task.
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